Chevy Bolt Buyback vs. MRSP Swap

Chevy Bolt Buyback vs. MRSP Swap: Which is Better?

The MSRP swap for Chevy Bolt EVs applies when you still owe on the vehicle. The loan is transferred from the old car to the new vehicle, and there are any other charges the specific ordinance may require. On the other hand, the buyback offer applies when the company calculates the trade value of the current vehicle per the state lemon law plus any additional charges the state lemon law may require.

Are you currently conflicted over what to do with your Chevy Bolt manufactured between 2017 and 2021? —whether to use the buyback process or choose an MRSP swap instead?

You want to know how long it would take, how strenuous each process is, and ultimately, which offer would pay off more before making a decision.

Even if you see yourself switching to another EV brand, you’ll want to know how the buyback offers come out and whether or not they are pretty much the same as trade-in value or better.

The ideal option for you to choose between these two offers depends on how laws around buying back or replacing defunct vehicles—known as Lemon Laws—work in your state since Chevrolet (General Motors) processes buybacks on a case-by-case basis.

In the rest of this article, I will compare the processes involved in the Chevy Bolt buyback and replacement options to help you decide which offer is best for your situation.

My background

In my case, I had almost 60,000 miles on my 2017 Bolt Premier in 2022 and had paid around $44,000.

I processed the buyback option, and General Motors (GM) repurchased it for $25,000. It would have been better if I had gone with the swap.

But even with the buyback, the company added everything I paid into the vehicle, including the down payment and all monthly payments, sales tax, registration, and gap insurance. Then it subtracted the ‘usage fee’ based on the mileage.

It has been more than two years since General Motors recalled their Chevy Bolt EV due to battery-related fire risks.

According to TechCrunch’s American online newspaper, Chevrolet has spent $800 million to buy back some of its recalled Bolts.

What Happened in the First Place?

The Chevy Bolt recall began in November 2020 after the automaker got constant reports about battery fires in parked vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered that it was due to a manufacturing defect in the high-voltage battery cells produced by LG Chem.

If the battery cell of an EV has a defect, its stored energy could be released in an uncontrolled way, causing it to heat up. This can lead to the damage of other battery cells and then thermal runaway, resulting in fire.

To this effect, Chevrolet issued two significant recalls: the first in January 2021, which affected 68,667 vehicles and involved a software update to address the battery issue, and the second in July 2021 for 110,000 vehicles when the problem persisted.

If you currently own a Chevy Bolt with a model year between 2017 and 2021, you can call for an MRSP swap, where you can trade your current Bolt EV for a new 2023 Bolt EV, or the BuyBack process, where you have enough rebates available.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Buyback vs. Swap for Bolt EVs

BOLT EV BUYBACK PROCESS
PROSCONS
A fair chance of a better dealTime with a lot of back and forth can be tiring. Some users account that it takes even up to 19 months.
Flexibility means you can use the money from the buyback for any purpose.You may not receive as much as you initially paid since usage factors will be considered.
A buyback can be more advantageous if your Bolt has a higher market value than the MSRP. 
BOLT EV SWAP PROCESS
PROSCONS
A relatively simple processNo flexibility
Potential incentives 
Eligible for federal tax credit 

Your usage charge

Remember that your usage charge is based on the odometer reading on the day you request buyback, but all your miles are free while waiting for approval.

So even though you drive up to 20,000 miles after contacting General Motors for a buyback, they won’t consider that particular usage.

The Bolt EV 2023 model year is better than the previous ones.

Chevy significantly improved the 2022–2023 model over the previous Bolt EVs.

So if you’re considering a buyback, take a moment to look up the offerings of the current 2022–2023 models. You may have a change of mind and switch to the swap offer.

The interior of the 2022–2023 Bolt is excellent and looks more luxurious, with a spacious cargo area and 1-pedal driving compared to previous models.

Most importantly, the infotainment system is much better with Wireless Carplay and a large, good-quality touchscreen. Nothing earth-shattering, but it’s an improvement.

For a faster process, have your documents ready.

Whether you choose buybacks or MSRP swaps, it’s a faster process when you have copies of all your documents easily accessible.

They need a copy of your buyer’s order (from when you purchased the vehicle) for the buyback process. If your current Bolt is financed, you must provide a copy of the retail finance contract with no lienholders. You also need to provide a photographer for the odometer reading.

Professional automotive technician Wrenching Fool gives a detailed visual description of the process of applying for a Chevy Bolt EV buyback in this video:

In summary

Two years ago, during the Bolt EV safety concerns crux, the buyback offer was better than the swap due to all the rebates available. But now, it may profit you more if you stick to swapping for a newer Bolt vehicle.

Apart from the fact that Chevy has, since that time, ended the generous factory rebates and dropped the MSRP on the bolt by roughly $6,000, Chevy also made improvements for the 2022/2023 model over previous ones.

On the flip side, with the buyback, you get a low offer, and you will still have to buy a new EV or ICE with the insane 2022 car premiums.

Whatever you go for, I will always recommend starting with numbers, not speculation. Find out what GM is willing to purchase the vehicle for and compare it with your cost to swap for a new would-be versus the private party value.

Remember, you have rights under the law. If you’re frustrated by the loss of range, loss of indoor charging, and delays in battery replacement, check your state’s lemon laws and email Chevrolet so you can quickly “lock in” your usage charge while considering other options.

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